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“The Stephens Family wishes to thank everyone for their outpouring of love and prayers. Her passion was more than vocation – she used her gifts to their full potential, and as a result, her trailblazing contributions are forever etched in Gospel Music’s timeline. We ask for your continued prayers during this difficult time.”
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Lady Stephens’ early musical instruction began at the age of 4, later accepting her first pianist position at 13 years old. After completing her degree at Dillard University in 1949, Helen married Arnold E. Stephens (1927-2009) in 1950 and shortly thereafter moved to California in 1953.
In 1965, she organized the “Stephens Singers,” and later organized the “The Voices of Christ” of Berkeley, California in 1969 with 23 members, which later grew to include 92 members the following year. Additionally, in 1979, Stephens founded “The Lighthouse Singers,” an interdenominational community-based gospel choir in Marin County, California. Lady Stephens traveled nationally with the late Rev. James Cleveland, and is most notably known as the organizer and long-serving Chapter Representative of the Northern California Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA), officially retiring in 2013. At the time of her passing, Lady Stephens remained an Emeritus member of the GMWA National Board of Directors.
- California State University at Hayward 1975-1981
- Family Light Music School of Marin County 1976-1978
- College of Marin 1982-2000
- Dominican College 1993-1998
- West Contra Costa County Unified School District 2003-2005
She is survived by her children Reginold Stephens, Rene Stephens, and Rosalyn Stephens; 6 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.
The Celebration of Live Homegoing Service will take place Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at Beebe Memorial Cathedral, 3900 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, CA. The service will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will be officiated by Bishop Gordon A. Humpfrey, Jr., Senior Pastor, Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church (Chicago, IL) with the Eulogy delivered by Bishop Albert L. Jamison, National Chair, Gospel Music Workshop of America and Senior Pastor, Pleasant Grove Baptist Tabernacle (Brooklyn, NY).
MUSICAL TRIBUTE CONCERT
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 // 6:00 p.m.
Love Center Ministries
10440 International Blvd., Oakland, CA
Service will conclude with a Parting View
HOMEGOING CELEBRATION SERVICE
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
9:00 a.m. – Viewing
10:00 a.m. – Service Time
Beebe Memorial Cathedral, Oakland, CA
Rev. Dr. Charley Hames, Jr., Pastor
Arrangements Entrusted to:
C.P. Bannon Mortuary
6800 International Blvd, Oakland, CA